Yesaroun’ Duo – Yesaroun’ Duo 

Yesaroun’s first recordings.

 Shawn Crouch – Suspended Contact
 Charles Ives – Seven Songs
 Ken Ueno – WATT

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Shawn Crouch – Suspended Contact (1999)
for alto saxophone and percussion – written for Yesaroun’

Suspended Contact was written in 1999 for the Yesaroun’ Duo and was premiered in December of that year at the New England Conservatory. In June 2001, Suspended Contact won the Percussive Arts Society’s Composition Competition. It is published with Honey Rock Publication. The composer provides the following note:

“I recently have been interested with the details involved in phenomenons of nature. The experience one has when watching a tree bend in the wind, the movement of a wave, or listening to the sound of breath all stem from improvised phenomenons. Suspended Contact is an attempt to create a reflection of what happens at the point in which a drop of water lands on a pond or stream. I want to suspend the experience, describe all the subtle nuances in the greatest detail, while juxtaposing its presence within an urban world. The percussion and saxophone have been organized to create movement from very fast, energetic, high metallic timbres associated with the colors green, blue, and yellow; to the grounded sounds of the toms, wood-block, and low range of the saxophone, pertaining to the colors orange, brown, and red. Suspended Contact is music that stems from nature while at the same time exploring our participation within it.”

Charles Ives – Seven Songs 
for tenor saxophone and marimba – adapted by Yesaroun’

1. Remembrance (1921)
2. Maple Leaves (1920)
3. The Side Show (1921)
4. Serenity (1919)
5. Memories (1897)
  a. Very Pleasant
  b. Rather Sad
6. Two Little Flowers (1921)
7. Slow March (1888)

Charles Ives printed his 114 songs privately in 1922. This collection of songs illustrates his eclectic style, ranging from the abstract to the everyday. Ives included some thoughts on the solo song in the Postface of the publication:

“A song has a few rights, the same as other ordinary citizen. If it feels like walking along the left-hand side of the street, passing the door of physiology or sitting on the curb, why not let it?…. should it not have a chance to sing itself, if it can sing? – to enjoy itself without making a bow, if it can’t make a bow? – to swim around in any ocean, if it can swim, without having to swallow ‘hook and bait,’ or being sunk by an operatic greyhound? If it happens to feel like trying to fly where humans cannot fly, to sing what cannot be sung, to walk in a cave on all fours, or to tighten up its girth in blind hope and faith and try to scale mountains that are not, who shall stop it? – in short, must a song always be a song!”

Ives recalled instances of his father, playing Franz Schubert and Steven Foster songs on his horn with great success, allowing the audience to “feel” the words through the music rather than actually hearing them sung. In fact, Ives originally conceived many of his songs for solo instrument and accompaniment, with the text written underneath the music [Kirkpatrick, Memos 1972]. For these reasons, Yesaroun’ feels that a presentation of these songs through tenor saxophone and marimba is in harmony with Ives’ philosophy

We encourage you to follow along with the text as you listen. The melody usually follows the text syllable by syllable, so even though the words are absent from the performance, it is easy to follow along.

Ken Ueno – WATT (2000)
for baritone saxophone and percussion – written for Yesaroun’

WATT, written in 2000 for the yesaroun’ Duo, is scored for baritone saxophone, non-pitched percussion and boombox and takes its title from the work by Samuel Beckett of the same name. This piece takes as a point of departure, John Coltrane’s late avant-garde albums like Insterstellar Space (1967). This album features only two performers, Coltrane and drummer Rashied Ali, the same instrumentation as the yesaroun’ Duo. The bulk of the piece is a long development, beginning with sparse hits poking out of the silence, and gradually growing into a funky frenzy of sound. The surrounding music juxtaposes long periods of intense fury and long periods of near motionlessness. These two opposite sound worlds grow from or interrupt each other. At the close of the piece, the long development section is recapitulated, this time played on a boombox and manipulated electronically – the first 1’45” of the opening of the piece is collapsed to sound in 20″.

WATT is ¿ whaT:

The convergence point of the seemingly familiar – the groove, the beat, turned around and on top of itself, put together by being taken apart- what is also WATT – taken apart, and put together – turned around, under itself – the beat, the groove – the seemingly unfamiliar convergence point of things already known.

Recorded and Mastered by Cameron Wiley in New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall, 2002
Edited by Sam Solomon
Produced by the Yesaroun’ Duo, with assistance from Daniel Bauch, Jonathan Bisesi, Charles Peltz, Shawn Crouch, and Ken Ueno.